English Through the Ages: A Dramatic Reading of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

(c) Photograph: John Haynes | A Midsummer Night’s Dream

This term, I am teaching a class entitled “English Through the Ages: Spotlight on Systems and Usage”. Over the course of the semester, we have studied Old English, Middle English and Early Modern English with a view to the socio-historical contexts, spelling and pronunciation, lexical features, grammar, and aspects of pragmatics and discourse patterns.

As a vivid illustration of Early Modern English, my students and I are working on a dramatic reading of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Nights Dream in Original Pronunciation. During our rehearsals, we are using freely available materials (a transcript of A Midsummer Nights Dream with divergences from PDE highlighted by means of IPA symbols) from David Crystal and Paul Meier, who started working on OP productions in the early 2000s.

While we were hoping for putting on an open-to-public evening event, our dramatic reading will take place on a WebEx stage. I am looking forward to it just a much, though!

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